Training Techniques

The key elements of successful dog training: 
1. Patience, practice, and praise 

2. Be consistent, fair, and kind

3. A positive attitude

4. Forgiveness

Use one word or simple phrases for commands.  I use lots of small treats to teach a new command.  Physical signals are also important.  The training sessions should be short at first.  Just 15 minutes a day will produce results.  Gradually increase the length of the lessons to 30 minutes as your puppy grows.

Your tone of voice is very important.  I recommend using an assertive, confident tone of voice with commands.  Praising and rewarding the correct behavior is quite important.  Use a happy, higher pitched voice when you praise your dog. Yelling at your puppy or hitting the puppy will not help you achieve your goals.  Your puppy does not understand yelling or hitting.  Lessons should be fun for you and your dog.  Keep corrections to a minimum.   Most training mistakes should be ignored.  Simply try again, and praise the desired response.  

I recommend methods that focus on positive reinforcement that do not use physical force.  You gain your puppy's respect with positive reinforcement and encouragement, not with harsh treatment.  Yelling at your puppy or hitting your puppy will not help you achieve your training goals.  Harsh leash corrections are also inappropriate.  Your puppy will be confused and upset.  Harsh treatment may result in serious behavior problems including shyness or aggression.  

Treats can help in the beginning, but then food rewards should become random.  You want your dog to focus on you, the command, the hand signal, and a verbal praise reward.  I do continue to use a food reward for recalls.  It's very important for your dog to come to you when called!

Keep in mind that you must show the puppy what you want him to do when you give a command.  Saying the command louder and more often will not help if the puppy does not understand what you expect him to do.  To teach a command, show the dog what you want him to do by gently positioning the puppy and/or guiding your puppy into position with a small piece of food.  Then praise your dog.  Use lots of praise and lots positive reinforcement.  Patience and repetition are also essential components of successful training programs.